A pink taxi

A pink taxi

December 8, 2010

I never became a ballerina

I never intended to become a ballerina. I only took ballet because my mother pushed me. This mandatory activity was her attempt to curb my tom boy allure. Left to my own devices, I would have only taken shotokan karate. My mother made ballet a prerequisite for karate and I often wore my ballet leotard under my karate outfit.

My children partake in the same activities as I did and even participate in more. Despite her tomboyish looks, my daughter is very enthusiastic about ballet, perhaps because she started earlier than me. When she first started, at age 3, she categorically refused to wear anything pink to class and stood out in her blue outfit.

Why would one "push" one's kids do "all" these activities? Wouldn't they be happier in unstructured play? And shouldn't I save my time, money and trouble and keep them home more often. I did all these activities as a child and didn't become professional in any of them! I have not become a professional ballerina, or  a world class horse jumper, or a black belt karateka, pianist,  skier, ice skater, or an olympic swimmer...

But I can ski, skate, horse ride decently, and I was even able to take up karate again as an adult. I swim laps whenever I find a pool and I can decipher a few musical notes. As for ballet, it left an after taste for poise and I took that inclination to the pilates studio.

Although at the time I rebelled in ballet class and made sure not to listen, hating the outfit I was wearing and so uncomfortable with my post-pubescent body image, I do believe those classes left me with a predisposition to understand pilates, in the same way taking latin assists in the learning of romance languages. My mother was so keen on good posture. I finally acquired that two decades after my ballet classes.

In the end, children benefit from the experience of sports, arts and skills. Some of these sports remain distant memories while others become serious hobbies and passions. More than anything, I firmly believe that being exposed to arts and sports, makes you a well rounded person, who has a comfortable sense of body and mind.

I have my mother to thank for this. 


  1. Ballet was my dream! I did karate so I could do ballet, which was the opposite of you....I was very glad to have taken karate, especially as I am sandwiched between two brothers. Karate gave me a sense of confidence and a feeling of equality with the opposite sex.
    But ballet was my escape. I used to forget about everything in ballet class, and throw myself into it, the music and the mouvement. I loved the outfits, the poise, the femininity. I can't claim to be an amazing ballerina, but I was a good one I think. By fourteen, I either would have fully dedicated myself to it or move on, and I did move on. But somewhere deep insde me wishes I could find an adult ballet class, although I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable wearing those leotards and pale pink tights! So now I wear nail polish in "ballet slippers" and tell my son's girlfriends that I used to be a ballerina! They love me for it....

  2. Parents should expose their kids to diferent activities from an early age,then choose a bouqet to stay with them for good.Privileged children who are exposed by their parents to these activities,especially in a convenient city like Dubai,should hopefully appreciate their parents' dedication and sacrifice.